Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Teen losing sleep follow up

Teen losing sleep follow up question

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Comment: Thank you very much. You made me more aware, and for that I thank you. jb

Questioner: John

Subject: sleep

Question: QUESTION: My 15 year old is a great kid, but like so many his age, he is overscheduled and can find himself losing sleep over the week. Part of it is staying up too late, but he usually is in bed by 10pm and his curfew during the week is 9:30 (and he can only stay out if he is caught up on his homework).

My wife and I have an ongoing discussion about whether or not to let him sleep in on weekends.
 I say the boy needs to catch up on his sleep, she says that studies show he should not sleep later than 1 hour past his normal waking time (5:45).

We typically argue about how long to let him sleep and wake him about 10 and then I'm in the doghouse for the rest of the day. I understand the logic behind what she is saying, but it seems crazy to wake him for no reason (he does volunteer at church and holds a dog sitting job on some of the days, then he gets up to do those things).

I'm open to suggestions


ANSWER: Dear John,

My philosophy is "if it isn't broke don't fix it." How does you son feel? Is he asking to sleep in. He is 15 now & it would be a good idea for you and your wife to include him in this decision making process.

Really the goal of parenting teens is to get them independent. Who will be making this decision or waking him up when he goes off to college or gets a job?

On a physical note, studies also show you can not catch up on your sleep. Once it is lost it is lost. It is more important to get the REMs you need each night. It might be a better strategy to encourage him to get enough sleep each night.

Teens especially have a hard time because their body requires more sleep. Often they want to sleep in because of the changes in the hormones. Unfortunately our society doesn't believe in adapting for teens and they often have to be to school way too early in the morning. Before their brains are even ready to process information and function.

Really it sounds like you have a really good son and have done a good job. If he isn't pitching a fit then just enjoy the peaceful ride!


M Kay Keller

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Actually, there are some issues. He sometimes can't wake up with his alarm. I know I should let him face the consequences of not getting up, but I'd like to wait until it's something less important than school (like events he wants to go to!!). The thing is, he can go to bed at 7pm and still not get up in the morning.

The hormone thing - is that why they can sleep forever? Does their body like "shut down" for a while or what? That was good to know.

I try to work with him, and I know I need to be more strict with him in some areas of my parenting. I also realize that there is a fine line between being a supportive parent and being their buddy. My belief is that you treat them like an equal most of the time and work on compromises to get what you want - only give firm nos when necessary. My wife is more of a disciplinarian. We are always at odds, and I'm afraid she may leave me soon (or vica versa). I wasn't going to go there, and I know I'm adding a lot to the initial question - today was a bad day for us as a couple.

Is there a way to work toward compromise when we both feel 100% that we are doing the right thing for our children? We tried counseling, and that didn't work.

Answer: Dear John:

If you son is can't get enough sleep even with 8 hour or more of sleep. I strongly suggest a trip to the family doctor. You need to rule out any possibility of a vitamin deficiency or some other medical reason for the high need for sleep. It also is not uncommon for teens to be depressed which also shows up by oversleeping. To be blunt he sounds overscheduled. ?????

As for the marital problems. Studies show that egalitarian parenting, strict parenting and loose parenting all have the same results it is the inconsistency which messes kids up. So the short of it is you two adults need to work it out and then leave it alone with your son. If what you wife is doing is working and she isn't inclined to compromise it might be best to let it alone just so your son gets the consistency he needs to get to adulthood.

As for the allowing him to take responsibility....again...when does he take over the consequences for his own actions. Hope you are not waking him when he is 30 and working??? :) LOL

I am not sure what else to tell you about your marriage if you both went to counseling and it didn't work then someone didn't compromise or work it out. It does take commitment on both your parts to make a marriage work and unfortunately a good marriage takes alot of work.

Without more information there isn't much more I can share with you.

Best wishes, I hope it gets better....just a hint, you cannot lose with lots of listening and listening and listening doesn't mean you agree it just means you are listening....

M Kay Keller

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